Friday, June 29, 2007

Malfunctionning Eddie

I decided while I was at work, earlier, that I should put down a short list of authors who must be read, for a variety of reasons. So here it is:

1. Hunter S. Thompson: The last true outlaw of our time, Hunter S. Thompson lived what he wrote and he wrote well. He was an intelligent, stubborn man with a political, philosophical and moral conscience which can be described as pragmatic, though the word hardly does him justice. There are many authors of political books who offer solutions and suggestions, but Hunter acted on his convictions.

2. Kurt Vonnegut: One of the authors who redefined american literature, he approached every detail of his prose with a unique vision; his characters were equals, his ideas bound up with questions of morality and his style of writing was absolutely singular.

3. Ken MacLeod: His ideas and take on science-fiction are fresh and, sometimes, terrifying. His novels paint rich portraits of the world to come and give us a heads-up about the things we're doing wrong. His understanding of geopolitics is second to none and, as has been said by others before me, he's a brilliant writer of place. Vivid landscapes populate his books and have given me the desire to see Scotland for myself.

4. Friedrich Nietzsche: While his work is usually difficult to read (go with a recent translation, you'll thank yourself for it) almost everything he'd written which was not about how great he was (he had a bit of an ego) was philosophically important.

5. Plato: The man who many refer to as "the greatest philosopher who ever lived" is worth reading both for the many things he was right about and for the much more massive body of things he was wrong about.

That there is a start, there are many more, and some will appear before the end of july, but I believe that I could call that a start.

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